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Ravens Kicking Consultant Believes Patriots Scoreboard Error May Have Been Intentional

Ravens kicking consultant Randy Brown confirmed that the Gillette Stadium scoreboard was inaccurate during the end of the AFC Championship Game Sunday, leading to a rushed kick from Billy Cundiff. He thinks it’s possible the error was made on purpose.

During an appearance with Angelo Cataldi and The Morning Team on 94 WIP in Philadelphia Tuesday, Brown said “The scoreboard was one down behind, the entire last three plays, from what we understand. That caused Billy Cundiff to have to rush on to the field with just seconds left on the play clock to try and make the kick, which he missed.”

When asked if he felt the error was done purposely to mislead the Ravens, he replied “I don’t think you can rule anything out in New England, can you?”

Even if you believe the conspiracy theory that the Pats’ scoreboard operator intentionally misled the Ravens — and it wouldn’t be the first time the Pats messed with the opposing team through stadium technology — Brown says it’s no excuse for the missed kick.

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Kansas Fans Use Billy Cundiff Taunt During Opponent’s Free Throws (Picture)

Poor Billy Cundiff.  The guy already feels bad enough — especially for Ray Lewis — that he blew the Ravens’ shot at going to Super Bowl 46.  Now, he has to hear it from fans in other arenas in an entirely separate sport.  As we all know, college basketball fans are some of the most clever in the country when it comes to taunting.  At times they take it too far like these Michigan State fans did over the weekend, but typically students come up with extremely clever bits like this one.  That’s unfortunate for Cundiff.

As you can see, Kansas Jayhawks fans were taunting Texas A&M during free throws on Monday night using enormous letters that spelled out “C-U-N-D-I-F-F.”  I guess they were hoping the shooter would miss wide left.  Although I feel badly for Cundiff that fans in Kansas are taunting him during a basketball game, I have to give the student section points for creativity.

H/T The Dagger

Billy Cundiff Rushed His Field Goal Attempt Because of Error on Gillette Stadium Scoreboard

Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff missed a 32-yard field goal with 11 seconds left that would have tied the AFC Championship Game at 23. The miss essentially gave the Patriots the win, sending them to the Super Bowl.

When Cundiff attempted his field goal, the entire play seemed rushed; the ball was snapped just before the play clock expired. Cundiff told Deadspin’s Stefan Fatsis that the entire sequence was rushed because of an error on the Gillette Stadium scoreboard.

According to Cundiff, and confirmed by the Ravens on tape, the Gillette Stadium scoreboard erroneously said Baltimore got a first down on a pass to Anquan Boldin. There was some confusion on the Boldin play because he fumbled the ball out of bounds ahead of the first down marker. By rule, the ball cannot be advanced on a fumble. So in actuality, Boldin was tackled a yard shy of the first down marker, setting up a 2nd and 1. When it was second down for Baltimore, Cundiff thought it was first down because of what the scoreboard said, and so on.

By the time the team got to fourth down, Cundiff thought it was still third down thus he was unprepared for his kick.

Cundiff has accepted all blame for the kick and said it’s a routine one he should have made. He says he feels badly for ruining the season for his teammates. But this development has led some people to question if the scoreboard error was an intentional move by the Patriots to confuse Baltimore. Given New England’s history of videotaping opponents’ signals, and the reports that they sabotaged opposing teams’ headsets, there seems to be grounds for the speculation.

Bottom line: Cundiff’s missed kick isn’t the only reason they lost the game, and there’s no guarantee they would have won in overtime. Their offense had plenty of opportunities to score points and did not deliver. And Cundiff, regardless of whether or not he was confused by what down it was, should have made a 32-yard field goal. This is a team that reached the AFC Championship Game. They shouldn’t be making excuses like they’re a 2-14 team.

Photo Credit: Greg M. Cooper-US PRESSWIRE

Billy Cundiff Says He Feels Bad for Ray Lewis After Missing Field Goal

You win as a team and you lose as a team. As expected, that was the message from the Ravens’ locker room after their devastating AFC Championship loss to the Patriots on Sunday. Billy Cundiff may have missed a chip shot field goal that would have sent the game to overtime, but Lee Evans also failed to secure a potential game-winning touchdown late in the fourth quarter. The Ravens’ defense allowed New England to score 23 points. Ray Rice was unable to find much room to run. As Ray Lewis stated after the game: “Not one player won or lost this game.”

Speaking of Lewis, is there any question as to who the leader is in the Ravens locker room? When discussing his missed kick, Cundiff expressed specific remorse for letting Lewis down.

“It’s a kick I’ve kicked a thousand times in my career, there’s really no excuse for it,” Cundiff explained according to The Capital. “I get paid to make field goals. I don’t get paid to miss field goals. You know that Ray Lewis has poured his heart out, and you don’t know how many years he has left. To let him down is pretty tough.”

Lewis doesn’t have many years left, but he has at least one.  After the loss, he emphatically said he would return next year for another season.  The Ravens will once again be one of the AFC’s better teams, but the age of their defense is something to keep an eye on.  Lewis is 36 years old and Ed Reed battled a number of injuries this season.  If Flacco continues to let the media bother him and cannot become an elite NFL quarterback, the Ravens will have a tough road.  With an experienced but aging defense, it has become clear Baltimore will need more from its offense heading into 2012.

H/T Pro Football Talk

Special Teams the Difference in AFC and NFC Championship Games

We hear coaches say it so often that it has become a cliche. When guys like Bill Belichick and Tom Coughlin take the podium the week before a game, they always mention special teams. It is the third phase of the game that people tend to ignore. When analyzing the match-up between two teams on paper, we look at offenses and defenses. On Sunday, we were all reminded of how important the forgotten phase of the game truly is.

In the AFC Championship game, it was Billy Cundiff. The game was headed to overtime. Both the Ravens and Patriots had come up with timely turnovers to keep the game close. Tom Brady had an unimpressive day throwing the ball, but he led a go-ahead drive in the second half that was capped off by an uncharacteristic leap into the end zone over a pile of Ravens defenders.  Joe Flacco put Baltimore in a perfect position to send the game to overtime by bringing his team to the New England 21-yard line.  Perhaps the Patriots would block it, but no NFL kicker is going to shank a field goal inside 40 yards, right?  Cundiff shanked it, and the Patriots advanced.

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